Pharmacy U

Let’s hear it for the Wellspring Pharmacy Leadership Awards


From left to right: Cheyanne Boehm, Mark Kunzli, Nicole Tsao


In 2011, The Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy (CFP) initiated an awards program to honour an exceptional pharmacy leader and inspiration to many, Barbara A. Wells, who passed away in 2010. 


By Dayle Acorn

With the help of donations from the Wells Family and many friends of Barb’s, the Foundation committed to providing $50,000 over five years to deserving candidates who aspired to take a leadership role in the profession.


Our awards committee made a concerted effort to choose recipients who we felt would develop their leadership skills to benefit all aspects of pharmacy — from disseminating best clinical practices to finding new ways to enhance the business aspect of the profession. In addition to supporting personal study and research initiatives, we were looking for candidates who were keen to develop their own leadership skills with the desire to invest them back into the profession.


I’m happy to report that five years later, the Wellspring Pharmacy Leadership Awards have succeeded in helping CFP support 18 of the brightest pharmacy leaders of today and tomorrow. Over the years, we’ve provided financial support to a pharmacist who developed a pilot project to help new practitioners develop business skills, and another who used the knowledge gleaned from his business studies to put theory into practice. In fact, he has gone on to open two successful pharmacies where he fully capitalizes on pharmacy services to enhance patient care.


All of these winners from across the country have proven that even as individuals, pharmacists have what it takes to make a major impact in the profession.


This year’s three recipients are no exception. Mark Kunzli and Nicole Tsao of the University of British Columbia are working together to plan and deliver a one-day symposium called “Innovation to Application.” Already in its second year, this forum brings together patients, pharmacists, physicians, policy-makers and researchers to share insights and strategies for the adoption of e-health infrastructure in pharmacy practice. In other words, there is serious potential for a significant long-term benefit from this collaborative event. Tsao will also put her award-funding towards developing her leadership and business acumen at UBC’s Sauder School of Business.


Our other 2016 winner, Cheyanne Boehm, from the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region, is pursuing an Antimicrobial Stewardship Program that she says will allow her to educate and motivate other pharmacists to pursue similar opportunities. In her application, she noted the need to develop pharmacist leadership in antimicrobial stewardship to protect this valuable resource. She says she intends to capture current prescribing practices in her institution and design an intervention to reduce inappropriate antibiotic usage, while at the same time improving the selection of appropriate usage. This should ultimately improve patient care.


In the words of one of our 2015 award winners, Noelle Patten: “Pharmacy needs leaders who understand the challenges facing the larger healthcare system, and who can be part of strategic effort to overcome those obstacles.”


At a time when pharmacy is still finding its way in a new healthcare environment, our Wellspring Leadership Award recipients give me the confidence to think our future is in good hands. For more information on these awards, go to


Dayle Acorn is Executive Director of the Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy (, a registered charity dedicated to supporting innovation and leadership to advance the profession of pharmacy.